by Garrett Thomas, Founder of The Gamermaster’s Stash
Started in 2006 this series has 10 books currently out with another one scheduled for next year (2019). The story follows a strong willed female protagonist who runs an auto repair shop, and just happens to be able to turn into a coyote. She gets involved in a number of mystical mix-ups and has to use her wits as well as her friends and her limited magical power to come out ahead if not unscathed. This Urban Fantasy series stands out for its great use of mythology and lore you don’t see in other books in the genre. It has a romance arc in the series as well that doesn’t come off as cringy as Twilight and other similar books. All together it is an adults Urban Fantasy series that doesn’t need to rely on explicit scenes to win over the audience.
1) Great Supporting Cast- From a vampire who drives a replica of the Mystery Machine to a centuries old fae and an openly gay werewolf, the secondary characters in this series really make it come alive. All of them seem 3 dimensional and with compelling backstories and personalities. The secondary characters have arcs of their own, internal as well as external struggles and achievements. This really adds to the experience of reading these books and ands depth to the world.
2) Fantastical and Real Diversity- On the magical spectrum this series has it all, along with the stables of werewolves, vampires and witches, they have Native American skinwalkers, gods and more kinds of fae then most people would recognize. This magical diversity is married to the real-world diversity that is shown in the books as well, with gay characters, a Native American protagonist, many immigrants (mostly magical) who keep close ties to their traditions and even a single father struggling with a teenage daughter.
3) Continuing Series- With 10 books and another one on the way the series doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. For me personally this is something that I love. A good story can be told in a few hundred pages but to be able to see character growth and the world change due to actions in previous books is something that this series does very well.
4) Mercy Herself- The main protagonist and the main viewpoint of the books is that of Mercy Thompson. She is a young woman with a history degree that was able to find work… as a mechanic. She is a very caring person and has a magnetic personality. She was raised however with werewolves and is defiant of authority and stands up for herself. Her quick wit gets her into as much trouble as it gets her out of. Her magical nature is a secret but influences how she interacts with the world around her every day. Mercy really is an amazing character and could carry the series by herself if need be.
1) Size- The books themselves aren’t extremely long usually around 100k words, so the individual stories can seem a little rushed. Nothing too jarring but its noticeable if you are used to ready big books, its easy to fly through them since the stories really drag you in. Before very long you will be done with all the books and waiting on the next one.
2) Some Cliché’s- Yes, the vampires and werewolves don’t like each other, yes there is a love triangle between an ex, the protagonist and a new love interest, yes you cannot trust the fae to make a fair deal. The cliché’s you would expect to see from an urban fantasy series are present, they are tastefully done however and are not what the series is based on, but they are there.
3) The Greater Mercy Thompson World- This can be seen as a pro or a con depending on your preference. I don’t enjoy short stories or novellas as much as full sized books. The whole Mercy Thompson world is fleshed out with multiple short stories and novellas. They take place before the series starts and in between books. Since I’m not partial to things smaller than full length books I feel like I’m missing out on good information.
If you want a break from the typical high fantasy and want to give urban fantasy a try I highly recommend these books. If you thought Twighlight could have been so much better if written properly then I would say give the Mercy Thompson books a try. This series is also for people who really enjoy mythology and lore, the way Patricia Briggs interweaves so many mythologies into her world is amazing and extremely well done. In short, the are a great series that is worth a shot, if you don’t enjoy the first one its not a huge investment of time since its not a huge book, but if you do enjoy it there are plenty more of them to dive into.